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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Turtle-Flambeau Patterned Bog (No. 291)



Within the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, Iron County. T41N-R2E, T41N-R3E, T42N-R2E, T42N-R3E. 5,460 acres.



Turtle-Flambeau Patterned Bog features an extensive and diverse landscape containing numerous vegetation communities including patterned bog, northern wet, mesic, and dry-mesic forest, and emergent aquatics. Created in 1926 by flooding lowland wetlands, the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage is located at the top of the Chippewa River watershed at the junction of the Turtle and Manitowish Rivers. The patterned bog community is quite complex and includes water tracks, sphagnum lawns, and discrete areas of large trees. Very rare in Wisconsin, this wetland type can be characterized as an herb- and shrub-dominated minerotrophic peatland with alternating moss and sedge-dominated peat ridges (strings) with saturated and inundated hollows (flarks). They are oriented parallel to the contours of a slope and perpendicular to the flow of groundwater. Within a patterned peatland the peat "landforms" differ significantly in nutrient availability and pH leading to a diverse flora that often includes numerous bog and fen species. The northern mesic forest is dominated by hemlock and large white pine while the northern dry-mesic forest contains hemlock and hardwoods with remnant white pine stands. Both areas are important habitat for bald eagles and osprey. In fact, the flowage contains the largest concentration of eagle and osprey breeding pairs in Wisconsin. Turtle-Flambeau Patterned Bog is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1996.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 47, 182, and 51 in Manitowish, go west on 51 0.5 mile, then south on Murray's Landing Road about 5 miles to a boat landing. The units of the natural area are all accessible by boat.


Turtle-Flambeau Patterned Bog is owned by:

  • WDNR


The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.


Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Entrance fees: Excepting Parfrey's Glen, the Cambrian Outlook in the Dells of the Wisconsin River, SNAs within State Parks and some within State Forests, all other DNR-owned SNAs do not have any admission fee. For more information, see Wis. Admin. Code NR 45. For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Allowable activities

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping

Prohibited activities

Although a handful of sites allow activities like primitive camping (e.g. Lower Chippewa River on sand bars) or horseback riding (e.g. S. Kettle Moraine), the activities listed below are generally prohibited on DNR-owned SNAs.

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

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Last revised: Monday, June 14, 2021